The original version is made of square deck balusters designed for outdoor use. I wanted to change it up a bit. My version is different because I instead used wooden dowels. The assembly is still really easy and 100% of the materials are still available at The Home Depot.
The funny thing is that the round edges feels pretty good on your feet.. and my kids keep walking all the mat telling me they are getting “foot massages.” Who knew right?
Okay.. now for a quick run down on how I made it:
6 - (4 foot) 1-1/4” hardwood dowels
Sisal Rope (1/4 x 50’ Roll)
Behr Weather Proofing All In One Finish (Mine was in Cordovan Brown)
Miter Saw or Hand Saw
Drill or Drill Press
3/8” Drill Bit (for the money you can't beat this set)
Random Orbit or Palm Sander (what is the difference?)
Electrical or Masking Tape
Paintbrush (I like this type when working with this deck stain)
Scrap boards (for drilling jig)
18 - 16” 1-1/4" Dowels (Cut each dowel into thirds)
2 - 80” lengths of 1/4” sisal rope (or longer.. it is better to have too much than not enough!)
Once you have your 18 lengths of dowel you need to drill a hole on each end to run the twine through. In order to get straight consistent holes I set up a jig on my drill press. I nailed together two board to form an “L” shape and then clamped that to my drill press table.
I set the backer board up one inch to the right of the drill bit and 3/4 inch in front of it (so I could line up the end of the dowels with the end of the backer board and I didn’t need to measure or mark my dowels) When drilling holes at each end you just needed to make sure they were both facing the same way (so if you drilled straight down you needed to make sure the hole on the other end was facing straight up!)
Next I sanded the cut ends of the dowels since they were going to show at the front and back of the mat:
Because the dowels are not weather proof (they aren’t pressure treated or redwood or cedar) I had to seal them up really well. So once again I relied on my favorite weather proofing stain (this is the same stuff I used on my X-leg outdoor bench which has held up for years now)
QUICK TIP: A trick I have for staining these things (since I had to get all four sides and they were NOT easy to prop up on painting triangles) was to hand them all on a length of kite string and then stain them while they were suspended.
The last step was the most time consuming (although my kids helped and really got into it). Feed the twine through the holes and tie a square knot on one end. Then in between each dowel tie another knot. To make it easier to feed the rope through and to stop it from fraying, tape the ends of it with electrical or duct tape.
QUICK TIP: You want to make sure you tie the knots RIGHT UP against the dowels. If the knots are too loose or two far away from the dowel, when you set on the mat they are going to want to roll. My mat was very stable because I have the dowels tied extremely close together.
Here is the finished project:
It was so easy to make, took me less than an afternoon (really it would have only been a few hours if it weren’t for the dying time on the wood stain!)
Now go RSVP to build your own! (Plus don’t forget to check out Home Depot’s other workshops. They have something for everyone; from Kid’s Workshops, to Do It HERself workshops geared specifically towards projects of interest to women. The experts are Home Depot are there to help walk you though projects that may seem too intimidating to tackle on your own.)